MAC: Mines and Communities

Denmark and Greenland new uranium deal

Published by MAC on 2016-02-08
Source: Reuters, Australian, Copenhagen Post

Greenland banned uranium mining decades ago, but lifted that ban in 2013.

The government's majority in parliament supports the new policy, but the main opposition party - which narrowly missed winning a general election in November 2014 - wants to re-impose the ban.

Previous article on MAC: Greenland: 48 NGOs call for continuation of zero tolerance uranium policy in the Danish realm

Denmark and Greenland sign new four-part uranium deal

Parliament to vote on aspects of the deal this spring.

2 February 2016

The Danish government and Greenland have released a press release today confirming their agreement concerning the future mining and exportation of uranium from the Arctic island.

The foreign minister, Kristian Jensen, said the deal sent a strong signal regarding the co-operation between Denmark and Greenland and its Commonwealth in general.

“I am pleased that we have landed four important agreements concerning Denmark and Greenland’s co-operation regarding the mining and exportation,” Jensen said.

“It means that Greenland can continue in it efforts to expand its mining activities, while we adhere to our international duties and ensure that Greenland’s uranium exports live up to the highest possible international standards in terms of the peaceful and civil use of uranium.”

The four agreements in the uranium deal are:

– a general co-operation agreement regarding the specific foreign, defence and security policy issues related to the mining and exportation of uranium from Greenland

– a joint declaration on safeguarding nuclear materials

– a joint declaration on export control of products and technology that can be used for both civilian and military (dual-use)

– an agreement on Greenland’s safeguarding of nuclear safety in connection with mining

The parliaments in Denmark and Greenland are still to agree on certain aspects of the agreement, such as the safeguarding of nuclear materials. This is expected to take place sometime in early 2016.

Southwest Greenland is estimated to have the world’s largest deposits of uranium.

Greenland rare earth mining to remain contentious due to uranium - minister

Gwladys Fouche


26 January 2016

Greenland's push to extract rare earth metals will remain a contentious political issue for years to come because the mining also produces uranium as a by-product, the nation's finance minister told Reuters.

Greenland has been opening up to foreign companies with hopes that its vast resources in metals and minerals, including rare earths, would help finance its ambition to become independent from former colonial master Denmark.

Greenland banned uranium mining decades ago due to its potential use in nuclear weapons but lifted it in 2013 and the government's majority in parliament supports the new policy.

The main opposition party, which narrowly missed winning a general election in November 2014, wants to re-impose the ban and is still bitter at the 2013 decision which was passed in parliament by the slimmest of majorities with barely a debate.

This uncertainty has been criticised in the past by foreign investors seeking regulatory stability on the issue.

Greenland signed a deal with Denmark last week on how it would cooperate in the mining and export of uranium found in rare earths, an agreement some investors saw as a sign the domestic conflict was over.

But Greenland's minister of finance, mineral resources and foreign affairs, Vittus Qujaukitsoq, said that was not the case.

"I don't expect it to be resolved among the parliamentary parties," he told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference held in northern Norway.

"The opposition includes two parties opposing the extraction of uranium, whether it is a by-product or not. It will be an issue for the upcoming elections."

Rare earths, a collection of over a dozen of chemical elements, are used in high-tech components and China supplies the vast majority of the world's demand.

The minister declined to give details of last week's deal with Denmark but said he "did not expect it to be a financial disadvantage for any parties", referring to the two signatories.

Greenland became a Danish colony in the early 19th century but has been gradually gaining its own powers since World War Two and is seeking to win its independence.

(Editing by David Evans)

GGG shares jump on uranium agreement


January 22, 2016

Shares in Greenland Minerals and Energy have surged on the back of a landmark uranium development agreement between Greenland and Denmark.

ASX-listed Greenland Minerals, which has the undeveloped Kvanefjeld uranium and rare earths project in Greenland, was up more than 10 percent on strong trade in early markets.

The announcement that Denmark and Greenland have reached formal agreement to establish an internal framework related to the mining and export of uranium from Greenland is seen as a positive step forward in the potential commercialisation of Kvanefjeld. The agreements are anticipated to be executed by the respective governments in the near-term. Media reports indicate that laws regarding safeguards and export controls on dual use goods (uranium) for Greenland are tabled for ratification in the upcoming sitting of Danish Parliament in March.

The agreement provides a clear indication of the progress by the Greenland and Danish Governments to ensure Greenland can progress toward producing and exporting uranium in accordance with international best practice. The Kvanefjeld project is the underlying reason for which the regulatory advances have been put in place.

The announcement of the agreement comes following the recent submission of a mining license application for the Kvanefjeld project. In 2015, the Government of Greenland signed off on an agreed development strategy for the Kvanefjeld project, and terms of reference.

Greenland Minerals key license Kvanefjeld in southern Greenland has three delineated deposits that collectively comprise a global JORC (2012) resource estimate of one billion tonnes, containing 593 Mlbs U3O8, and 11Mt rare earth oxide and 5.3 Blbs zinc.

The deposits remain open, and represent one of the worlds largest undeveloped resources of rare earth metals and uranium.

The initial development strategy focuses on a subset of Kvanefjeld, the most advanced of the three deposits, which contains a 108 Mt ore reserve, estimated to be sufficient to sustain a 37 year mine life.

The project is set to produce a rare earth product containing praseodymium, neodymium, dysprosium and terbium (the key permanent magnet components), uranium oxide, zinc concentrate and fluorspar, with the processing of the mining license application for Kvanefjeld a key focus for the company in 2016.

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